Not The Same…

Why me? Why do I hurt? What is this pain? Does anyone else feel it? Why am I alone? What is happening to me? Why won’t this stop? What do I do?

These questions and more raced through my mind day in and day out. They became permanent static, fogging my thoughts and feelings every day.

Like many I hid from them.

I distracted myself from them.

I let them sit there, inside, slowly festering and eating away at me.

I knew I needed help. I knew I needed to do something. I just didn’t know what to do.

Maybe I should talk to someone about them?

What will they know?

They’re not me. They’re nothing like me. They’re not a professional They’re not an accountant. They’re not a director. They’re not the same as me. They’re not a man – I sigh as I write this.

It’ll be pointless.

It won’t help me. I’ll turn up, sit down, be asked some horrible and probing questions then just get told it’s all ‘daddy issues’ and be charged a fortune, left with only another bill to pay at the end.

Sound familiar?

Three years ago, this was me, my all time low.

Desperate for help yet terrified at the same time.

Three years ago I wrote an e-mail to a complete stranger that I found the contact details for in an online directory. It was a simple message saying something along the lines of “I don’t know what to do”.

Within a day that stranger had responded and said they’d be happy to listen.

Awfully trusting.

Probably a scam.

I was already in too deep to say no. I decided to go; just for one session. I could back out later. Save myself money. There was no commitment. There was no obligation. Might as well try it.

That stranger invited me into a room, offered me a drink and simply asked the following, “How are you?”

Three years later I still see that same stranger every Friday. Although now they’re not a stranger. They’re a trusted friend – I still don’t know if I can call them a friend though!

My life changed that day and has changed every day since.

Just as the title of this article is a reference to a pop-punk song almost no-one will get – It’s a song from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 – I am going to leave you with another pop-punk song reference.

“The frightened fall as often, yet far closer than the brave.”

We can all struggle.

We can all fall.

We can all fail.

But being frightened isn’t a weakness and being brave isn’t a strength.

Vulnerability and the fear that comes with it allows us to learn, grow and develop; to become more and to push forward ahead of those that blindly hide behind bravery alone.

Know that by admitting vulnerability, by accepting weakness, you ARE strong.

And that you will never be alone.

No one ever is!

Andy Salkeld

just another guy

Andy’s first book ‘Life is a Four-Letter Word’ is a mental health survival guide for professionals and is available from 14 May 2020. Life is a Four-Letter Word tells Andy’s full story and is a straight-talking, searingly honest, no bullsh!t, yet humour filled account of what it’s like to struggle with depression, plan your suicide and then step back.

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